The pride of Columbia wrestling, J’den Cox, is a world champion once again.

Despite having only two takedowns in the gold-medal match, Cox took down Iran’s Alireza Mohammad Karimi-Machiani 4-0 in the 92kg (202.5 pounds) division finals of the World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, early Saturday. It is Cox’s second straight world title, as he also won gold at the 2018 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Cox’s defense carried him through the tournament this time. He did not allow a single point in his four matches on his way to a perfect run, outscoring his opponents 26-0. That makes him only the second U.S. wrestler in the past 30 years to win a gold medal at the Olympic or World Championship level without giving up a point. Kyle Dake did it a year ago.

Both his takedowns against Karimi-Machiani came in the first period, and he controlled the action the rest of the way. In 2018, Cox defeated Karimi-Machiani in the semifinals on the way to the gold medal in Budapest.

Cox, a native of Columbia and a graduate of Hickman High School and MU, was a three-time NCAA champion and four-time All-American for the Tigers.

Since graduating from MU, Cox has been dominant on the world stage. In 2016, he represented the USA in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and won bronze in the 86kg division; and he finished third at the 2017 World Championships and third in the 2016 Grand Prix of Germany.

Earlier this year, Cox took the gold medal at the Pan American Championships.

Cox’s attention now shifts to 2020 and Tokyo, where he will look to win his first Olympic gold medal. He is training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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  • Sports reporter, spring 2019 Studying sports journalism Reach me at dcd9wc@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5720

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